RoQ Riffs!! Ya’ll good?? Let’s begin..
A revolutionary, unstoppable force. Authentic. Competitive-by-nature. Expressive. Artistic. Escapist. Fiercely community-driven… we’re talking about HipHop; officially recognized in the dawn of the turbulent seventies of New York City. Notably, at 1520 Sedwick Avenue, South Bronx. Since it’s inception, it has undergone an evolution at a rate unparalleled by any other American subculture of the modern era. It’s shaped and molded almost beyond recognition, from tight jeans and finger-less leather gloves, to tracksuits and kangols, cross-colors, baggy jeans, throwbacks, white t’s… all the way back to tight jeans and finger-less leather gloves. Ideals, ethics, business practices, global reach, and intercultural influences have all left their unique mark on The Five Elements (can you name all five, btw? )..
Sub genres have sprouted, branches of rap music have evolved into their own independent entities..
..and yet, ONE motif reigns paramount.. “Keeping It Real”.
I’ve been acquainted with Sacramento, California-based emcee Task1ne for a couple years, having originally met him around late ’12. At the time, we were regional artists taking independent strides to find our own ways to break into the national circuit. What impressed me about his contribution to the culture was his charismatic approach to lyricism, coupled with subject matter I also related to, from an artistic level. I know it sounds a bit arrogant, but it was refreshing to come across another emcee that I felt was of the same class, as it’s few and far in between. So a mutual respect was formed, and we stayed in touch over the course of time, as our growths paralleled. We collaborated, battled in circles, invited each other on stage to rock, killed shows, planned tours, and provided good spirits from one black man to another. From my own lane, I witnessed his career-impacting achievements such as an induction into the illustrious Team Backpack..something I vicariously felt victorious for, as he represented the same realm as I.
Then a mutual friend contacted me disappointed and confused with a unbelievable accusation. Something so over-the-top taboo that it had to seem like an elaborate joke..
Okay.. so that of course caught me off guard. A whole four bars.. on one of his lead singles was stolen.
Then more came in….
To name a few, as I’ve seen at least two more videos. For the sake of time, you get the point. That last one he allegedly attempted to SELL. Making profit off of other peoples work. How is that keeping it real, in music? When confronted, he claimed to have a ghostwriter, using that as an excuse to detract from his clear-as-day creative thievery. I mean, in hip hop, stealing is just something you DON’T DO.
While absolutely taken aback and disappointed, to say the least, I chose not to participate in the public crucifixion of a [now former] fellow emcee. Frankly, while I was offended over the betrayal of the culture and perpetration of something so passionate as an emcee, “it wasn’t my business”. Diabolic, Sha Stimuli, Jon Connor, Nino Bless, Apathy, etc.. the City of Sacramento.. it’s THEIR business.. and besides, Task already removed his social media, disconnected his phone, and vanished into thin air. I mean.. there were articles about dude… even RAP GENIUS went in on him.. labeling him “Biter of The Year”. Then someone pointed out he named himself after Taskmaster, the comic book character who steals other peoples powers and exploits their skill sets. Eeesh..he was officially down for the count. With all of that said, our mutual friend assured everyone that Task is “waiting for things to die down” before he responds to the backlash.
Surely he’d rear his head and provide some sort of remorseful apology to the culture and those affected….right?
So, after a while of indecisiveness, I decided to add my two cents as a former peer.. placing it instead, on this site, as opposed to Facebook / Youtube comment sections, among the hundreds of justifiably angry/disappointed responses from friends; peers; spectators; rivals; and blood-hungry rappers, alike. So, “Taskmaster”, fam…
I can’t remain silent any further, screw being professional. I considered you a peer and respected your craft. You were one of the few cats that kept me from feeling complacent lyrically because I considered you of the same class. Not only that.. as a black man, I respected and felt kindred because you, as well, also represented the “normal” brotha.. someone non-representative of media’s harshly myopic and hurtfully stereotypical perspective of a black male in music. I vouched for you to jump on the homie’s event at SXSW .. even played you on my radio show. Your entire persona, at least as an emcee, was a sham. Its not like you cheated on your girl and got caught up, brotha. You deceived an entire subculture by pretending to be this overtly authentic and unapologetically normal musician. We came up in an era where representing that shit was looked down on by “real niggas” for being “square”. It’s sad because who knows how many socially-inhibited bystanders, who vicariously lived through your self-acceptance, were let down. Who knows if you just disappointed some aspiring kid rapper to the point of losing inspiration. By this irreparable breach of integrity, you robbed others the opportunity to believe in yet another truly “real” emcee.. something few and far in between. You didn’t just exploit the culture people risk their livelihoods for, you did it while wearing a sheep’s disguise. What you do off the mic is none of our business.. but when you get into “rapper mode” you represent your peers and those who look up to you, as well as put you in the position to shine. So, I feel you represented ME in a negative light. At this point, I don’t even feel like reading through our collab. I’d rather save the further disappointment and remove it all together. Furthermore.. I’ve dealt with crippling depression, as have many others. Who are you to insincerely use that as a crutch for your egregious infractions?? Forced crying? Camera angles? “Brought out the worst in you all??” Actually .. no.. you brought out the BEST in folks because people are able to see just how serious this subgenre takes hiphop… and we take authenticity with the utmost seriousness. Why do you think our subgenre is coined REAL HipHop??? Those who don’t get it will still show support. That is their business. As a person, I sincerely wish you well in life, and am still a message away.. but hiphop doesn’t need imposters destroying it from the inside. At least people like Young Thug admit to not caring about this shit.. you used this path clearly for the glory.
I’m sure this was misinterpreted by some as being disloyal to the good brotha, but this isn’t coming from a malicious heart. This is coming from someone who respects Task as a human being, and I felt this discussion needed to be carried out in a mature manner, publicly… considering the severity and frequency of this infraction. And if I ever make such a remarkable misstep, I fully accept the consequences. The direction many people took was too hate-filled and “judgmental” to deliver a clear, concise message. So, while I wish everyone well, despite their infractions in whatever caliber… because Jesus, do I have mine, in the real world… never attempt to exploit a lifestyle so many people hold near and dear. To be blunt, what he did was Career Suicide: 101. But what do you expect? This is a form of escapism, to people. This is the unstoppable force the community instinctively gravitate toward. This is the art in which folks either express themselves or their expressions are felt by the onlooker. Here, among the competitive, only the authentic make the cut…
Because as of April, Two-Thousand Fifteen… over forty years later.. This is STILL Hip Hop and “Keeping It Real” is STILL paramount.
– RoQy TyRaiD
Oh and live from Phoenix, “The Culture Is Back!!”
Feel free to comment below, should you so choose.